Pakistan court rejects ex-leader Musharraf's bail over detention of judges

ISLAMABAD (AFP) - A Pakistani court on Wednesday refused bail to former military leader Pervez Musharraf over the detention of judges during his rule from 1999 to 2008, the state prosecutor said.

The ruling came two days after a court granted bail to Musharraf over the murder of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, who was killed in a gun and bomb attack in 2007.

The retired general has been detained in his farmhouse on the edge of the capital Islamabad since April 19 on charges of conspiracy to murder Ms Bhutto and over the judges' detention case.

"(A) judge of the anti-terrorism court rejected Pervez Musharraf's bail application after listening to defence and prosecution," public prosecutor Aamir Nadeem told Agence France-Presse, adding that Musharraf can appeal to the High Court.

Court official Mohammad Aslam Joya confirmed that bail was refused in the case, which relates to the sacking and detention of judges when Musharraf imposed emergency rule in 2007.

The 69-year-old returned from exile in March to stand in the May 11 General Election, vowing to "save" the country from militancy and economic collapse, but he was barred from running over charges dating back to his time in power.

Taking the former chief of army staff into custody was an unprecedented move in a country ruled for more than half of its life by the military, and was seen by many as a challenge to the armed forces' power.

Since Mr Nawaz Sharif, ousted by Musharraf's coup in 1999, won the election, there has been speculation that a deal would be reached to allow Musharraf to leave Pakistan without facing the courts.